With all my research and work looking into the census, I’ve been thinking more and more about where I was 10 years ago.
I know this is going to make some of you feel old, but when the 2010 census took place, I was in sixth grade and homeschooled.
It proved to be the last year I homeschooled.
As I spent seven years in homeschool and six years in public school, I understand the pros and cons of both educational methods.
Through public school, I met teachers that supported me and helped me grow. I took electives besides whatever mischief I could get into with a shovel in the back yard. Fundamentally, I would not have gotten into journalism without going to public school.
That being said, through homeschooling we were able to adjust the curriculum more to suit my interests and learning style. I participated in Tae Kwon Do, scouts and soccer — none of which lasted through more than a couple years of public school. Plus, we were able to take the standardized test we wanted, rather than the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, which doesn’t have very positive reviews.
One of the criticisms I see about homeschooling is that it leads to a lack of socialization. I’ve certainly seen homeschoolers who didn’t have much. However, as the youngest of three, involved with so many groups and part of a weekly homeschool group, I never felt like I was lacking in people to interact with.
The main benefit of homeschooling I saw is that we had some flexibility with curriculum.
One year, we were ahead on my English assignments from the curriculum we used. My mom’s response? We went to a Scholastic book fair — actually in a Scholastic warehouse — and picked up any fiction book we could find relating to WWII.
As a result, we spent a spring semester reading purely those.
My mom and I read “The Boy Who Dared” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti about a young man in Germany who was caught with a foreign radio. My dad and I read “Thin Wood Walls” by David Patneaude about a teenage writer who was sent to a Japanese internment camp in California — a part of American history that, years later, several of my public school companions knew nothing about.
At the time, I wanted to be a doctor and learn anatomy. Two of my friends joined me in a class taught by our moms about basic anatomy. We took multiple field trips to the local science museum for the Bodies: The Exhibition display.
I don’t regret growing up homeschooled. However, I also entered into public school at the right time for me, when I was ready for something different.